Essay about The Internet and Defamation Laws in Canada

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How free is freedom of the press in Canada? The freedom of press is guaranteed by Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: “Everyone [has] the fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion, and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication” (Media Law). However, Section 1 states that the fundamental freedoms in democracy can be limited for justifiable reasons: “The Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” (Media Law). There are criminal and common laws on the provincial and federal levels which place legal restriction on how the …show more content…
In 2008, damages had been awarded in two internet libel cases and there were only 22 libel cases where damages were awarded involved the internet (Proudfoot). Although the number cyber libel cases is relatively low, it is important to note that since the proliferation of internet media, these cases have been increasing. As more users login in and comment on social media sites such as Facebook or on blogs, anyone who publishes on the internet can be considered an author, and their work can become the battleground of a defamation case. Internet libel cases, are a challenging and obscure area of law because there have not been many cases which can be used as precedents (Proudfoot). According to Roger McConchie, a lawyer with renowned expertise in internet libel cases, most cases were damage was awarded occurred when the individual accused of defamation refused to take down an incendiary comment once they have been warned that it was defamatory (Proudfoot). In British Columbia, the courts awarded $676,000 in damages to plaintiffs who were defamed by an online attack from parent Susan Holstead (Proudfoot). She made posted that they had used drug and alcohol abuse and were conducting in inappropriate behaviour on the internet; she also created a

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